HomeTeamsTigersThree Storylines for the Detroit Tigers Spring Training

Three Storylines for the Detroit Tigers Spring Training


Health is a storyline for just about every team during spring training. In 2023 the Detroit Tigers had 17 pitchers start a game, led by since departed Eduardo Rodriguez with 26 starts and 150 innings. The 2023 rotation lost Matt Manning, Matthew Boyd, and Alex Faedo to season ending injuries. Spencer Turnbull made a handful ineffective starts before being lost for the year as well, and former number one overall pick Casey Mize spent the year rehabbing Tommy John and a back injury. While Skubal reestablished himself as an ace level pitcher, however he missed the first half of the year rehabbing from flexor tendon surgery.

Offensively Riley Greene has lost a large portion of his first two seasons in the majors to injury. The latest was Tommy John on his non-throwing arm. He’s back playing in spring training. If he can stay healthy Greene is arguably the Tigers’ most well-rounded hitter, capable of hitting better than .300 with 25-30 home run power. Greene will be shifting to a predominantly corner outfield position in part to hopefully reduce some of the wear and tear on his body.

Youth Movement

The Tigers GM Scott Harris has said the Tigers are prioritizing giving young players at bats this season. While a number of exciting young players were told they won’t be breaking camp with the Tigers it is still a great chance to see a number of players who will be looking to make their debuts at some point in 2024. Jackson Jobe (RHP) and Jace Jung (3B) are two of the Tigers top prospects who will get their first taste of big-league camp, both are expected to start the year in AA. Other players looking to make a good impression this spring include Justice Bigbie (OF/1B), Wilmer Flores (RHP), Wenceel Perez (OF/IF), Dillon Dingler (Catcher), Ty Madden (RHP), and Brant Hurter (LHP).

There are a pair of rookies who are expected to win jobs and be part of the opening day lineup. Parker Meadows has already flashed the ability to play elite level defense in center field (a big reason why the Tigers are comfortable moving Greene to a corner). Meadows came just under the threshold for losing his rookie status, 37 games and 145 plate appearances. Meadows doesn’t need to be a great hitter to have value to the Tigers, but if he could hit .240-.250 with an OBP in the .340-.350 range he would help turn the line up over and provide a boost to the lineup.

The Tigers are expecting Colt Keith to win the second base job this spring and how he performs in spring training will be key in seeing if he is ready to take on the position full time or whether the Tigers will need to get him a little more seasoning in AAA. Keith hit over .300 with 27 home runs combined in AA and AAA. One of the biggest things to watch this spring is how Keith’s continued work on transitioning defensively is progressing.

Javier Baez

By just about any measurement, you want to pick, Javier Baez had a rough 2023. He hit only 9 home runs with a wRC+ of 61 and an ISO of .104. On the plus side, his defense was still solid posting a DRS of 2 in 2023. During the first week of spring training Baez in talking with a group of reporters revealed that he had been dealing with discomfort and pain in his back and core muscles during the 2023 season and that he had spent the offseason working with new trainers and coaches in an endeavor to both stay healthy in 2024 and to recapture the swing that made Baez a fearsome hitter earlier in his career. Additionally, with the retirement of Miguel Cabrera, Baez is now the big name in the club house and while manager AJ Hinch doesn’t want or expect Baez to be anything more than be himself and to be healthy. However, spring training will be a good indicator if Baez is going to be able to recapture some of his old magic.

Joe Underhill
Joe Underhillhttps://mlbreport.com/
Joe Underhill is a high school administrator and diehard baseball fan and fan of the city of Detroit. Joe currently writes for www.mlbreport.com and HTP Newsletter. You can follow Joe on Twitter @TransplantedDet and @transplanteddet.bsky.social


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